The World Atlas of Street Food Out Now!

Almost exactly a year ago I lost my job in quite spectacular fashion. The company I worked for didn’t just close down and send us on our way, our misfortune was splashed across international newspapers and websites. The closure didn’t just leave hundreds of employees across the globe without work or pay or what we were owed, but it left a lot of other disgruntled (and rightly so) people too. Despite that, many of those who the closure affected most, reached out and offered huge amounts of support and kind words which meant a great deal. 

Despite the support, this time last year I was sat on the sofa, under a blanket, crying between each job application I completed. Times have thankfully changed. Now I have a job which I have thrown myself into and find hugely rewarding. I get to think, write and speak about food all day long.

While things are great now, going through the experience of losing my job was hard. I can’t pretend otherwise and it isn’t easy to forget. However, it did force me to take risks and do other things. Since last year I have consulted and worked for a few start ups, landed my new job working for a major brand and contributed a chapter to a book – words, images and a recipe. It’s the latter I’m most proud of. The offer came in just days after losing my job. If I’d still been working I’d have said: “Thanks but I can’t take time off work.” Instead I said: “When do you need it by?”

I won’t pretend it was the most lucrative gig! I had to pay for flights to Krakow and stay in a hotel, the cheapest I could find. There was a slight incident with some raw bacon which didn’t go too well but thankfully (possibly due to large amount of cheap red wine consumed just after) I survived unscathed if a little out of pocket.


Hugely proud to see my chapter on Krakow in print. Words and photos. #WorldAtlasofStreetFood

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Poland Your Way – Culinary Course

Sierakow Manor

I recently did a bit of consulting for an UK-based tour operator, Poland Your Way, for the launch of its Polish culinary course. The operator has launched this fabulous package for enthusiastic gourmands interested in learning more about Poland, its cuisine and culture. Travellers have the option of staying for three or four nights, with accommodation and courses provided at a country manor hotel, close to the historic city of Krakow.

Sierakow Manor
Sierakow Manor

The hotel, Sierakow Manor, was once a 19th-century Polish nobleman’s home but it has been lovingly restored, offering a perfect mix of historical elegance and modern comfort. During the day, guests will gain an understanding of Polish culinary traditions, local ingredients and cooking techniques. Classes and demonstrations will be run for English speakers. The groups will be relatively small, with a maximum of 12 people per class.

Some common dishes you’ll get to know include pierogi (dumplings), uszka (a smaller version of pierogi), barszcz (beetroot soup), golabki (stuffed cabbage leaves) and bigos (hunter’s stew). The hotel also produces a range of traditional pickles and jams, as well as stocking a range of local produce such as honey, cheeses and beers. All items are available for sale for guests to take home.

Sierakow Manor Bedroom
Sierakow Manor Bedroom

Each evening guests will enjoy a three-course dinner of traditional Polish food, with wine or Polish beers. On one night, there will be a tutored vodka tasting experience, comprising of eight varieties.

If you stay for the fourth night, you also have the option to enjoy an excursion into Krakow, a guided city tour and an optional lunch in the historic Kazimierz district.

3 nights £505 per person (sharing twin or double room). Non-cooking partner, £355, includes all meals and the vodka tasting. £100 single supplement.

4 nights £655 per person (sharing twin or double room). Non-cooking partner £505, includes all maels and the vodka tastking. £130 single supplement.

Poland Your Way can also arrange optional extra excursions for those who want to extend their stay futher.

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Final Fantasy at Krakow’s 4th Annual Film Music Festival

This May music from Final Fantasy will come to Poland at the 4th Annual Film Music Festival in Krakow. Arnie Roth will conduct the Choir and Orchestra of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall with a special guest appearance from Masashi Hamauzu, composer of the Final Fantasy XIII soundtrack.

4th Film Music Festival, Electrolytic Tinning Plant of ArcelorMittal, Choir and Orchestra of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall, Kraków, Poland
At 8:00 PM  on 20th May 2011
Tickets, priced 30 and 60 PLN, available at

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Midsummer Night at Wianki Festival, Krakow, Poland

Krakow Wianki FestivalThe Polish city of Krakow is getting ready to celebrate Midsummer Night in style in just over a month’s time.  The ever-popular Wianki Festival will mark the occasion on 26 June this year as Cracovians acclaim the summer solstice with parties, special events, bonfires and the symbolic floating of wreaths or wianki or the Vistula River.

The festival traces its roots to a peaceful pagan ritual where maidens would float wreaths of herbs on the water to predict when they would be married, and to whom. By the 19th century the tradition had become a festive event and it continues to this day.

As well as the official floating of wreaths, there will be musical performances, dignitaries’ speeches, fairs and fireworks by the river bank opposite the imposing but beautiful Wawel Castle. Poland’s top pop stars will be joined by international acts including British band Kosheen to complete a day (and night) of celebrations.

To find out more about Krakow’s Wianki Festival and the importance of midsummer go to

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Krakow Ready For Second Selector Festival

With organisers promising new, fresh and innovative acts as well as established artists for the two-day music and multimedia event, the second Selector Festival is expected to kick-start a summer of festivals across the country and further afield. This year, UK act Faithless will headline the star-studded bill that also features Calvin Harris and Friendly Fires on the weekend of Friday 4 and Saturday 5 June.

The brainchild of Alter Art, the group behind the Gdynia Open’er Festival, the Krakow Selector Festival is now in its second year and hopes to build upon a success debut last summer.  Held in green fields close to the centre of one of Poland’s most beautiful cities, the festival performances will take place in two huge tents that can hold 15,000 fans.

Tickets are on sale now for the event with prices starting at 135 PLN or just £30. To find out more visit

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Krakow Film Festival Celebrates 50th Edition

One of Europe’s oldest festivals dedicated documentary, animation and short films the festival first took place back in 1961.  It is the oldest event of its kind in Poland, and to celebrate the festival’s fiftieth edition, Israeli cinema will be the special guest.

Krakow, Poland

The seven-day festival which gets underway on 31 May, is divided in to three sections:

• International documentaries will compete for the relatively new Golden Horn award
• International short films will battle it out for the famous Golden Dragon trophy, and
• The best Polish film will leave the festival with the Golden Hobby-Horse.

Alongside the festival competition, a number of films will be screened in the non-competitive element of the event. Highlights will include the classic Sound of Music, Rocksteady – the Roots of Reggae and Colombia’s La Casa.  The festival will also host a special night dedicated to music videos.

This year the films on show will be screened in a number of the city’s cinemas including the Kijow.Centrum, the Mikro, Kino pod Baranami, and the Krakowskie Centrum Kinowe ARS. A number of worjkshops, conferences and other events will also be held at a number of venues across the Polish capital of culture.

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It Takes Krakow to Tango

This week Poland’s capital of culture will welcome the second edition of its Tango festival.  This year, the Krakow Tango Festival will celebrate the Argentine dance with a series of threes: three nights of dancing, three days of workshops and three master pairs from Buenos Aires.  The dance originated from the slums and docks in Argentina’s capital in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Getting underway on 30 April and running until 2 May, the Krakowski Festiwal Tanga will take place in Krakow’s beautiful Old Town.  Tickets for the festival are on sale now and you can find out more at

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Krakow Welcomes Marathon Runners

Krakow Market Square
Krakow Market Square

The ninth Krakow marathon gets underway in five weeks time, as the Polish city welcomes competitors from around the world.  The 26.2 mile race gets underway on 25 April and takes in the Polish capital of culture’s beautiful old town, as well as the banks of the Vistula River beneath the gaze of the Wawel Castle.

A fixture in the city since 2002, the Cracovia Marathon attracts more runners and spectators every year. And participants who successfully complete the course, along with four other qualifying Polish marathons in two calendar years, will also receive a Crown of Polish Marathons badge.

For more information visit the official Cracovia Marathon website at

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Krakow International Festival of Sea Shanties

St Mary's Basillica, Krakow
St Mary’s Basillica, Krakow

Despite being many miles from the ocean waves, Krakow will host its 29th International Festival of Sea Shanties this month.  Between 25th and 28th February, Poland’s capital of culture will welcome music groups and performers from across the world to pay homage to the big blue and the world of old ships.

After relatively humble beginnings in 1981, the festival is now one of the biggest shanty celebrations not only in Poland but also in Europe. Every year people from all over the country – and from further afield – drop anchor in Krakow to sing about sea adventures and voyages.

The four-day festival will welcome almost eleven thousand people who will take part in a number of shows, concerts and performances. In past years, the festival has proved to be a launching pad for some of the most popular shanty groups and artists including Stare Dzwony, Packet, Ryczące Dwudziestki, and Mechanicy Shanty.

For more information about the Polish National Tourist Office visit

Visit Krakow Hotels to find out about accommodation in Krakow.

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Celebrate the future with St Andrew in Poland

polskaToday thousands of young Poles are celebrating their futures and hoping to catch a glimpse of their love-to-be, as part of St Andrew’s day.  Traditional belief has it that on the night before St Andrew’s day, a young woman is able to “see” her future husband – although today both women and men celebrate the day with equal enthusiasm, hoping to discover the love of their life.

In Poland, traditional Andrzejki superstitions include pouring hot wax from a candle into cold water through a key hole – a future husband’s profession can be determined from the shape of the resulting piece of wax. It is also popular for young women to write the names of potential husbands on pieces of paper and then put them under their pillow. In the morning they take one out, which reveals the name of the husband-to-be.

While tradition and superstition abounds on St Andrew’s eve, it is now well known as a party night throughout Poland with young people across the country celebrating their youth. This year the celebrations will take place on a Saturday, making for a great party atmosphere and an ideal time for people to visit the country.

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